November 2015 - 5 Night Western Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Cruise on Celebrity Constellation
Excellent Ship, Service less than what I expected
The Ship: Excellent. Such great amenities especially in the concierge class we were booked in. The thalassotherapy pool and turkish bath in the Persian Garden (which was only $109 for both Renee and I for the cruise, but so very much worth it) were the highlights.
Cabins: We had two Verandah staterooms (Balcony cabins) in the Concierge area. 9146 and 9148. They were connected, but we left the door closed and just got extra keys to the boys room. The rooms were large enough especially for just 2 people and the Balcony was amazing. The heavy sliding door let us keep the door open slightly as compared to the rooms on the Breeze that had a hinged door that couldn't be left slightly ajar. The extra touches in the concierge class made it feel so much more elegant. For example, we had chilled champagne waiting for us in our room along with fresh fruit. Binoculars and a nice tote bag were provided for us to use as well. There was a "pillow menu" which allowed you to get a variety of pillows for your sleeping preference, but we didn't really take advantage of that.
Food: Very surprised to say this but the food was a low point. The selection of food was good and there were some good items available both in the dining room and the buffet, but the taste was lacking. A few days in we learned that the head Chef was Welsh, so we jokingly attributed the lack of flavor to that, but in all honesty, it was a disappointment. The food on the Carnival Dream and Carnival Breeze were far superior.
Drinks: We all had the free beverage packages, I upgraded mine to premium for $10/day extra. This game me the ability to get anything I wanted, so I used it to try a wide range of drinks I wouldn't normally get, like Martinis and Cognac, for example. My package would have been almost $70/day had we not had the base package included as a perk when we booked. I'm certain that I would never buy this package by itself since I just don't drink that much, but it was really nice having the package included because on the final night, we still had ship credit to burn through as a result of not having to pay for any drinks or really, well, anything else.
Spa: Very good. Renee got a massage, and took a yoga class. I took a spinning class that was serious business. The aforementioned Persian Garden was awesome, but it came at a premium price of $79 pp or $109 per couple. Well worth it since they claim to limit sales of the package to a max of 30 couples. As a result it was essentially a private spa.
Service: This was hot and cold throughout the trip. Our waiter in the main dining room was excellent. We have yet to have poor service in the MDR on any cruise. However, the army of drones they have wandering the ship doing various tasks (clearing tables, drink orders, etc) were almost completely devoid of any personality.
Entertainment: This is not a Celebrity Flagship, so I feel wrong comparing it to the shows on the Carnival Breeze and Dream which were THE top ship in Carnival when we sailed on each respectively, but the shows and entertainment were lagging behind Carnival with two notable exceptions:
The house band for the ship were the Sea Monkeys. We discovered them on day 3 and subsequently went to all of their shows. They were a 5-person band from Bulgaria and the female lead singer and the bass player had phenomenal voices. The drummer, lead guitarist and keyboardist also sang lead vocals on songs and they were quite good as well. We had a lot of fun dancing and singing along with them as they covered songs ranging from the Beatles to Pink Floyd to Daft Punk.
The second exception. The Captain, Tasos Kafetzis was the start of the ship. Easily the most personable Captain we've met. He gave a 30-minute presentation on the construction of the Solstice class of ships (where he was the Safety officer for Celebrity at the construction site in Bremerhaven, Germany during the construction of 3 of the class) and spent 45 minutes answering questions during and after the presentation. Very funny and entertaining and clearly a very knowledgeable captain fielding high tech questions from some in the audience to cute questions from children.